14

Myra Melford: Snowy Egret

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Restlessly innovative pianist and composer Myra Melford brings her exploratory approach and her adventurous melodic sense to her 2015 release Snowy Egret with her new ensemble of the same name. The inspiration for this intriguing album is Uruguayan author Eduardo Galleano's Memory of Fire trilogy. Originally part of a multimedia performance called the "Language of Dreams" the music, full of provocative harmonic ideas and a cinematic ambience, plays as a soundtrack of an art film.

The haunting and wistful "The Virgin of Guadalupe" for instance opens with trumpeter Ron Miles' unaccompanied soaring cornet. Miles constructs a poetic song over Melford's cascading notes and drummer Tyshawn Sorey's martial, exacting beats. Guitarist Liberty Ellman's Spanish tinged, mellifluous monologue is tempered by the band's delightfully dissonant exchanges.

Melford blends together Latin-esque lyricism with the blues and a stimulatingly free improvisational style. On "Ching, Ching/For the Love of Fruit" for instance her plaintiff melodica engages Miles' horn in a lilting duet. Bass guitarist Stomu Takeishi and Sorey create a mystical backdrop for this soulful dialogue. Ellman and Sorey bring a rock & roll vibe to the second part of the tune.

Elsewhere on "The Kitchen" Melford abandons herself to thrilling and angular unfettered flights of fancy. Sorey opens with his thundering polyrhythms over which, passionate group refrains expand. Miles' free flowing, spontaneous phrases complement Takeishi's deep pensive reverberations. Flamenco tinged fragments pepper Melford's percussive solo with its circular, mordent chords and inventive lines.

A viscerally moving and bluesy mood marks "Little Pockets / Everyone Pays Taxes." Miles and Ellman contribute refreshingly atonal and intricately crafted extemporizations over the band's percolating flourishes. This contrast between the piece's cyclical structure and its contemplative and engagingly discordant content is what makes both this track and the album intellectually captivating as well as sensuously satisfying.

Always the bold artist Melford "scores" again with her new quintet. Even without the dance and spoken word segments that originally accompanied its content, the record stands as testament of her ingenuity and is a superlative work in its own right.

Track Listing: Language; Night of Sorrow; Promised Land; Ching Ching/For Love of Fruit; The Kitchen; Times of Sleep and Fate; Little Pockets/Everybody Pays Taxes; First Protest; The Virgin of Guadalupe; The Strawberry.

Personnel: Liberty Ellman: guitar; Ron Miles: trumpet; Stomu Takeishi: acoustic bass guitar; Tyshawn Sorey: drums; Myra Melford: piano, harmonium.

Title: Snowy Egret | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Enja Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Where the Blue Begins" CD/LP/Track Review Where the Blue Begins
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II" CD/LP/Track Review Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Whisper to the Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Whisper to the Wind
by Jim Olin
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Pelagos" CD/LP/Track Review Pelagos
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "Parking Lot Symphony" CD/LP/Track Review Parking Lot Symphony
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "That's What She Said..." CD/LP/Track Review That's What She Said...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 7, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.